Earlier today, ATP announced on its website that it has been forced to cancel their London Jabberwocky Festival—held in conjunction with Pitchfork and Primavera Sound—citing inadequate funds. The festival, which was to run for two days and feature such high-profile acts as Neutral Milk Hotel, James Blake, Thee Oh Sees, Sun Kil Moon, Cloud Nothings, Chelsea Wolfe, Iceage, Perfect Pussy and Big Ups, among others, was supposed to kick off this Friday. ATP founder Barry Hogan had this to say:
Over the past month and all the way up until this moment we have tried every possible course of action to follow through in delivering Jabberwocky to you, but the position we unfortunately find ourselves in as a result of a succession of events that have lost money in an increasingly aggressive festival market, means we are no longer able to do so.
Incidentally, Pitchfork writer Grayson Currin recently penned an investigative look into the waning festival culture for the eMusic-owned Wondering Sound, suggesting the lack of sponsors to fill the needs of an expanding festival market will present a system that is unable to support itself. While certainly true (as was in the ’90s, when the festival circuit burst under the weight of its expanding expenses), the timing of the piece raises questions if it was a precursor to the announcement today.
Sources told Impose that as the financial concerns grew, Pitchfork was said to have “taken a backwards step with its involvement with Jabberwocky.”
As an independent company who often puts on events, we understand the financial hardships and do not celebrate in this loss, especially for the bands who were touring and dependent on the festival guarantees to help fund their tours. But we are hopeful that this is the start of a more direct-to-the-fan experience at shows. In essence, anything we can do to break from the need to have multiple corporate sponsors, the better the experience will be for everyone.
As for the future of ATP events, the letter concludes saying they “will go ahead as planned, including ATP Iceland with our local partners there in 2015.”